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Around Our Town...Game and Fish

"Where are the fish biting?"

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01/01/2006 - "Where are the fish biting?"

It's a common question posed to Game and Fish Department biologists, but one they might not always have a ready answer for. By the time fishing reports get back to biologists the information is usually a week or two old, especially during the relatively quiet ice-fishing season.

"As any angler can tell you fishing conditions change very quickly so information that is a week or two old isn't going to do you much good," said Robin Kepple, Casper region information specialist for the Wyoming Game and Fish Department. "If you want up-to-date information on where the fish are biting, which baits are working and how deep to fish, we recommend calling the local bait dealers or fly shops. Their information is usually straight from the anglers who have been out there paying their dues and catching fish."

Most bait dealers can fill you in on the latest ice fishing action at Alcova, Pathfinder, Seminoe, Keyhole, Glendo, Boysen and Goldeneye reservoirs, as well as reports for some of the open areas on the state's rivers. Some even post the information on boards inside their stores and the information is updated fairly frequently, giving anglers the latest tips on the hottest spots. "So stop in at your local bait shop on your way out of town and see what's going on," Kepple said.

High-tech anglers can also look to the Internet for information. There are several sites that offer fishing reports for Wyoming and the best way to locate them is to type "Wyoming fishing report" into your Web browser. Anglers can then select from a wide variety of sites. Remember to bookmark any sites that you find useful in order to easily access them in the future. "Sometimes web pages aren't updated as frequently as anglers would like, but when they are updated they can often provide a quick and convenient way to find out the latest action on your favorite waters," Kepple said.

The local newspaper is another place to look for information. The Casper Star Tribune will occasionally run an ice-fishing report on their Open Spaces page on Thursdays during the winter months. A regular fishing report runs weekly during the summer.

If you've had a run of good luck while fishing, help fellow anglers by calling in reports to bait shops so they can share the information with others. "Obviously anglers don't want to give away all their secrets, but it's always considerate to share a little information with others. Besides, it's a good opportunity to brag a little on your recent success," Kepple said.

Most bait shops can provide details on the latest ice conditions as well, an important piece of information every ice fisherman should have before heading out.

"The radical changes in Wyoming's weather can make ice unpredictable and often unsafe from day to day," Kepple said. "Ask about ice conditions before you head out for the day, and once you are there be certain to physically check the ice before venturing out onto it."

With fishing pressure significantly reduced in winter months, Kepple cautions ice fishermen against getting lax on fishing laws. "All fishing regulations apply in the winter as well as in the summer," she said. "Ice fishermen who use live minnows must still follow the regulations for bait fishing, and creel limits and possession limits also still apply." Anglers should also note that it is illegal to release live baitfish into any Wyoming water at any time of year, and all baitfish must be killed when the 10-day receipt for them expires.

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